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Sports News:
Mellow Matt; Penguins G Murray eyeing current, not future

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Matt Murray’s legacy with the Pittsburgh Penguins – akin to it’s at age 26 – is safe, as. That tends to occur when you will have your title on the Stanley Cup. Twice.

It’s the goaltender’s future, nevertheless, that’s murky.

Not that Murray is considering the uncertainty that awaits each time the “official” NHL offseason arrives. With restricted free company looming and the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic on the league’s open market unknown, Murray is making an attempt to maintain it easy. Go to the rink. Stay sharp. Just play.

“All I’m focused on right now is preparing myself to be the best I can be on the ice,” Murray stated Tuesday. “The rest of it, it will take care of itself.”

Hopefully. Murray is at the moment understanding with the remainder of the Penguins in small teams throughout Phase 2 of the league’s Return to Play program. In a method, having solely a handful of gamers on the ice without delay as a substitute of the complete complement has sped up how rapidly he’s reacclimated himself following the “pause” that started in mid-March because the coronavirus unfold. Fewer skaters equals extra pictures. More pictures equals extra alternatives to try to grab what has been a considerably muddled beginning goaltender state of affairs.

The Penguins, who completed in fifth place within the Eastern Conference this season, had an All-Star goalie on the roster. But it wasn’t Murray. It was Tristan Jarry, who rode a sizzling streak in the course of the first half to an unlikely berth within the midseason showcase, and sparked speak of turning into Murray’s successor sooner slightly than later.

Going by the numbers, Jarry was higher in the course of the common season, and it wasn’t notably shut. He had a considerably increased save proportion and decrease goals-against common than Murray. Yet Jarry stays unproven within the playoffs. Not Murray, who went 21-9 within the postseason in 2016 and 2017 because the Penguins grew to become the primary group in a era to seize back-to-back championships.

That figures to offer Murray an edge within the eyes of coach Mike Sullivan, who arrived in Pittsburgh lower than two weeks earlier than Murray made his first NHL begin. Every time there was any kind of intrigue within the goaltending state of affairs, Sullivan has constantly turned to Murray. It figures to be a lot the identical when the league resumes play with the Penguins going through Montreal.

As bizarre as it would look each time the NHL resumes – 24 groups cut up between two hub cities, no followers within the stands, and a “bubble” designed to maintain the gamers avoid the virus – Murray thinks when it comes right down to it, it’s going to nonetheless be playoff hockey. Just with a twist.

“This is, I think, the best option on the table, and we’re going to make the most of it,” he stated. “In terms of preparation, I would say it’s similar to the normal playoffs. It’s just an extra (round) series. The fact that we’ve been off for such a long time kind of makes it feel a little bit more like a tournament and just kind of builds the excitement. It’s great. It’s the best that we can do in the situation. I know me personally and our team, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

___

For extra AP NHL protection: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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